But Potter had an unshakeable confidence in himself that sooner or later he would get there. She was right. She has now experienced what the pinnacle feels like.
The 31-year-old can now call herself World Triathlon Championship Series champion, the highest level of racing in triathlon, after winning gold at the Abu Dhabi event in March. She has been building for a long time to this point.
Having become a European champion in 2019, Potter began to make a real impact in World Series events last season, claiming a pair of silver medals plus a bronze in 2022.
So to finally claim that elusive gold, taking the scalp of Olympic silver medalist Georgia Taylor-Brown and world No.3 Taylor Spivey was, Potter admits, a significant milestone.
“It was definitely the biggest win
of my career”, the Leeds-based studio
says Glaswegian. “I had another winter behind me from working and it all clicked.
“I didn’t even have the smoothest run-up because I had some viral errors, so my training wasn’t as consistent as I would have liked.
“I knew he was in good shape and I thought he would be in the top five and maybe even make it to the podium, but I didn’t think he could win. So getting the win was a big deal.”
Her friend and training partner, Olympic medalist Jonny Brownlee, predicted her victory, but while Potter couldn’t share her utter confidence, she knew she was in a good place. While it’s easy to assume that the results of these international triathlon events are solely due to the physique of each individual athlete, there’s much more to it than that, Potter emphasizes.
With the team dynamic of being part of the GB team somewhat challenging for the Scotsman (perhaps not surprisingly there is some friction considering there are five British women in the world’s top 30), Potter knew her mentality and how she managed within the world. GB team. she had to tackle herself if she wanted to rise to the top step of the podium.
Never leaving a stone unturned, Potter turned to a sports psychologist, which she believes is why she’s been able to pull that little extra percentage out of herself on race day.
“I’ve been working with a psychologist for a while, but over the past winter, I really put more emphasis on that,” says the Commonwealth Games bronze medalist.
“I was working not necessarily on the performance side, but more on the anxiety that I have while racing.
“And it’s not all to do with the racing itself, it’s also to do with the team dynamics and I’ve really addressed that this year.
“For me, a lot of it was off the field of play in terms of some of the personalities within the GB team. That’s been going on for a few years, but now I’m 100 percent comfortable with it. atmosphere.
“Now I go in with the attitude that I don’t care what you say or think about me, I’m just going to focus on racing. I don’t want to be dealing with trivial things when I have much more important things to think about.
“And then when you get some good results, that helps and comes back to mind even more.”
Potter’s impressive start to the season continued following his return from Abu Dhabi.
Yet another victory, this time at the Arena Games in London, underlined the form he is in this year ahead of his next appearance at the Cagliari World Series event, which begins today, with another podium finish in his sights. .
However, she knows full well that her recent level of performance is something she will have to continue in the coming months if she is to achieve her ultimate goal of making it to the Paris Olympics next summer. As she’s already become an Olympian – she was part of the GB track team at the 2016 Olympics and finished 34th in the 10,000m final – Potter is very focused on making a second Olympic appearance. However, even though she is currently ranked fourth in the world, her seat on the plane to Paris next summer is far from guaranteed.
GB’s criteria stipulate that to secure selection, Potter, or any of his compatriots, must be on the podium at both the Olympic test event in Paris in August, as well as finish in the top three at the Grand Final in Spain on next month.
It’s a great question, but Potter thinks he’s more than capable of pulling it off. However, she is also well aware of the dangers of getting too caught up in what will be a fierce Olympic qualifying campaign.
The easy way to look at it, Potter believes, is that if she wins races in the coming weeks and months, the Olympic team will take care of itself.
“I feel like I’m training really well and I’ve been pushing myself again since I won in Abu Dhabi,” he says.
“I try not to think too much about the whole Olympic qualification thing. I know that I am one of the best in the country and one of the best in the world right now.
“So if I can get on the podium and win races, then qualifying for the Olympics will be for me.
A lot of it is also mental: it’s about believing that I belong there and I believe that I can be on the podium every time I do. Abu Dhabi had a peak performance, but now I feel like even if I’m a bit off, I should be up there.”